Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Rose from Let's Be In Life just had these sent to the ranch for Lori by special courier. We're hoping like heck they do the job. And the happy couple is prolly hoping like heck the label refers to the Tylenol and not to Lori's...performance.
Happy New Year!!!!!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
There it is. A partial copy of the actual referral form to the neurologist. Plain as anything, it says "orgasmic headaches." Although the pluralization's a little misleading. She's only had the one.
I was home alone when Lor--Paladin's call came through after her neurologist appointment.
"I thought we had to call you Paladin now?"
"I decided that doesn't have to strictly start until the New Year."
Then Lori got right to the point, like she's prone to do. "I just got out of the appointment with Dr. No, and he wants me to not have an orgasm until all the tests are done and back in TWO WEEKS."
"No way am I believing that the doctor who's restricting you from sex for two whole weeks is named 'Dr. No.'"
"Well, it's spelled all fancy, but it's pronounced 'no.'"
"So what did you say?"
"I said I didn't think that was a reasonable expectation. To which he said, 'Don't you have any self control?' To which I said 'NO.'"
I said, "Did he think you were screaming his own name at him?"
"Look, Margo, let's not let this whole thing deteriorate into a lame version of Who's On First, okay?"
Dang! Lori really knows me too well.
So, from what I gather, Lori whined and moaned to Dr. No until he threw out a suggestion that maybe, if she took Tylenol about 30 minutes beforehand, maybe it would be okay to go ahead and have an orgasm. But he added that if she got that piercing head pain again, she should go to the ER like the last time.
Anyway, when Starr Ann got home and I brought her up to date, she had herself an idea. Starr Ann suggested we surprise those two lovebirds by paying to have an ambulance on standby while they...you know. She thought the EMTs could just kinda go in the house and have a snack or watch a movie or something while Lori and Dangergirl...you know...in the ambulance.
Starr Ann swears with a portable CD player, some plush material, and a few candles, she can transform this
That girl can make anything romantic!
Only thing is, it turns out ambulance time is real expensive. So, if anybody wants to pitch in, just let us know, okay? Thanks!
Oh, and Starr Ann wanted me to dedicate this to Lori.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Starr Ann’s the one who answered the phone when Lori, I mean Paladin, called after her doctor visit. Starr Ann said, “What’s the verdict?” Then she listened a few seconds before saying, “Oh, that’s awful.” Only thing is, Starr Ann kinda looked like she was trying to keep from laughing.
That didn’t seem quite right. Jodie and I moved in a little bit closer to Starr Ann and the phone with Lori, I mean Paladin, on the other end. Then Starr Ann asked, “How long do you have?” Jodie and I just about collapsed. Poor Paladin. Real slow, Starr Ann said, “Until December 31? That’s just awful!”
I hate listening to phone conversations where you can only hear Starr Ann’s side. I had to take that phone away from that girl. Very sweetly, I said, “Hi, Lor-- Paladin. Now what were you telling Starr Ann?”
Not wanting to do to Jodie what Starr Ann had done to both of us, as soon as I got the lowdown from Paladin, I immediately relayed it to Jodie. I cupped my hand around the phone and whispered real loud, “She’s okay. Something called ‘orgasmic headache.’ Then I listened again a little bit and said, “They’re sending her to a neurologist on December 31. She’s not allowed to have an orgasm until after the neurologist.” At that point, I couldn’t really stay on the phone any longer without cracking up, so I shoved the thing to Jodie.
Real serious, Jodie said, “What else did they tell you…Paladin?” Then Lori talked a few seconds and it was easy to see Jodie was about to lose it, because as she repeated the next part, her phone hand was shaking out of sympathy with her belly, which was going up and down with these fast spasms from trying to hold in the laughter. Anyway, she whispered, “When her doctor told her about the December 31st thing, Paladin’s face must have dropped, because the doc took one look at her and said, ‘New relationship?’ and all poor Paladin could do was nod real sad.”
After that, Jodie was basically used up as far as being able to finish that phone conversation. Starr Ann was the only one left who could talk without bursting into tears or getting a laugh cramp.
First thing after Starr Ann got possession of the phone again, her eyes got all round and big. “No kidding! Well, you know Paladin, just because you have the prescription from Hell, doesn’t mean Dangergirl has to take the same medicine, if you get my drift.” Starr Ann can be so thoughtful. She listened a little bit more and said, “Oh, you are?” Then Starr Ann actually let Jodie and me in on what was said. She whispered, “Paladin’s not calling her Dangergirl anymore. It’s SuperDangergirl.”
When Starr Ann got off the phone, of course we had to put up with how she wanted to get all situated and cozy in the living room with hot cups of holiday tea before telling us the rest.
Seems the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of Lori never having another orgasm headache. The neurologist is prolly going to schedule an MRI to make double, triple, quadruple sure about no bleeding or anything, but it’s highly unlikely.
Starr Ann said Lori plans to stop by Happy Hands Ranch on her way home, just so she can tell us all the details of what the doctor said. And to show us pictures of her CAT scan. The one that proves SuperDangergirl blew her mind.
Poor Paladin. Starr Ann, that evil thing, is already making a special Christmas mix composed of every version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” she can find. I think that’s mean.When Paladin gets here, we have so much to ask her! I want to know exactly what it felt like (the headache). Jodie wants to see the paperwork, just to see if they actually wrote 'orgasmic headache' on her diagnosis. And Starr Ann, being Starr Ann, wants to get permission to question SuperDangergirl about past girlfriends and their headache histories.
Anyway, tomorrow I'll post everything we find out.
Okay, so the important thing to remember during this whole episode (and my best friend Starr Ann agrees with me one hundred percent on this) is that it really isn't funny. Well, it's funny, but we have to keep in mind that it's serious too. Kinda.
First a little background information. Our friend and neighbor, Lori "Paladin" Hahn, recently had herself a self-imposed spell of celibacy. Let me tell you, none of us ever wants to go through that again! Anyway, when her sixty days were almost up, she ran a contest on her blog to see who could write the best singles ad for her. And I actually won! I got a T-shirt to prove it.
So, Lori (let's just call her Paladin from here on out) ran the ad and it got her some dates, but meanwhile, forces were acting behind the scenes to bring her a girlfriend the old fashioned, non-Internet way. They simply met through a mutual friend. How analog.
Now, to hear Paladin tell it, this woman (let's call her Dangergirl, because that's what Paladin calls her) is, all in one sitting: hot, beautiful, smart, witty, and owns a hot tub. In short, everything Paladin ever wanted, and more.
Well, nobody's heard a lot from Paladin over there at Hahn at Home for a few days and Starr Ann, Jodie and I figured she was just busy with Dangergirl and having family in town for the holidays.
End of background information.
This morning, Starr Ann, Jodie and I were out for a morning ride, and guess who we passed on the road? Yep! Paladin and Rusty, her faithful steed.
Starr Ann said, "Hey, Lori, did you Hahns have a nice Christmas?"
"Actually, I'm going by Paladin now, Starr Ann. And yes, it was lovely!"
I said, "So, wanna ride with us for a while?"
"Nah. I'm on my way to see the doc, but thanks."
Jodie's the most nurturing one of the three of us, and she said, "Doc? You okay, Lori? Er, you okay, Paladin?"
Right then, Paladin did that one thing she does where she takes in air through her teeth and it makes a sound you just get used to knowing means she's about to say something that requires delicate wording. "Actually, it's a follow-up to my emergency room visit last night."
I'm just gonna cut to the chase here. Last night, Christmas night, Paladin and Dangergirl were celebrating their lesbianism in the most special manner when all of a sudden, this horrible pain knifed its way through
Then, after Dangergirl leaves, Lori sneaks off to the emergency room to get herself checked out. They did a CAT scan, looking for evidence there'd been any brain bleeding, but found none. Dang. That was misleading. They did find a brain (although the lesbian usage "her brains were out" did, reportedly, apply).
Then, after Paladin was all sedated, they wanted her to sign the okay to have a needle stuck in her spine to draw off some fluid and check it for blood. Apparently, the CAT scan is only 91% accurate in these cases.
Paladin ain't nobody's fool, though, and she took a pass on the needle thingy. So when we met up with her, she was on the way to her doctor to discuss what to do next. We all offered to go with her to the doc, because that's what friends do, and also because we wanted to secretly record the part where
Anyway, we're waiting to hear what the doctor says and intend to report the whole thing as soon as we know something. Paladin said we could write about it. Because her mom reads her blog. Heh.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I am by nature an idealist. It's really, really hard to get me to see the glass as anything but overflowing. But okay, I give.
Gay hater Rick Warren will be trashing up the inauguration next month. As I read the news a few minutes ago, my eyes started stinging and I couldn't keep from crying. I just emailed a friend who had intended to go to Washington, already had the room booked. He wants to cancel.
Only those who shared in the post-election euphoria could possibly understand how sad this news is.
Since The Starr Ann Chronicles needs to be written from a happy place full of heroes and hope, we're closing up shop for a while to figure out how to feel that way again.
Monday, December 15, 2008
My best friend Starr Ann has the best whisper. Some people get too much wind in their whisper, making the s's all hissy and their breath hot in your ear. Some leave too much vocal cord in it, so it's way too loud and hardly whispery at all. Not Starr Ann. When Starr Ann whispers, her breath feels like a light breeze that might have blown across fresh-cut grass, and it sounds like she just melted butterscotch in her mouth.
So, last night, as I was about to drop off to sleep, Starr Ann sneaked into the room and eased in bed beside me. I knew what was going to happen next, and kept myself as still as possible without being rigid. This time I was determined to make her believe I was already asleep. Very deeply asleep.
Starr Ann got up as close as she dared and whispered, "You awake, Margo?"
I squirmed a tiny bit and mumbled nonsense.
After that, Starr Ann very patiently waited for my breathing to get all regular again before making her next move. Somehow, I kept my heartbeat under control.
Five whole minutes later (Starr Ann was being real scientific and disciplined about it this time), she pushed her face toward me and continued. "Do you know I love you, Margo?"
"Margo, who's this you're talking to?"
"Uuuh, mmm, Starr Ann."
"Good. Now, do you know I love you?"
"Margo, what are you getting me for Christmas?"
Now, this is the critical moment. This is usually where my eyes fly open and I read Starr Ann the riot act over trying to trick me into revealing what her present is. But, no. I had been preparing for this all year. This time I would fool her good.
So, she was braced for me to explode, but I just mumbled inconherently again. I could tell by the way Starr Ann's body tensed a little bit then relaxed that she was very encouraged.
She whispered, "It's perfectly okay. You can tell me. What's my Christmas present this year?"
I kinda tossed my head from side to side and garbled out the words, "Shouldn't say."
Goddess! She was falling for the whole act. She gave it a few more seconds so I could settle again before saying, real smooth, like she thought she was hypnotizing me or something. "Go ahead, baby, tell me what it is. You are supposed to tell Starr Ann what her present is. Now, what are you getting me for Christmas?"
I hesitated, then rolled my head in a way that said I was wrestling with myself over whether to do it. Finally, I said, "Jodie knows." Goddess, I'm good!
Starr Ann didn't say another word. Simply rolled gingerly off the bed and started putting her chaps on. She was no doubt heading directly over to Jodie's place to extract the precious information from her. Of course, I had not told Jodie what I'm getting Starr Ann, so Jodie was in for an interesting night.
Starr Ann was absolutely pleased with herself. She was so happy, with herself and me, that the whole time she adjusted her chaps she sang, very softly, a song that she once caught me singing the wrong words to. For some reason, when Starr Ann is feeling a surge of affection for me, she sometimes sings that song, Donuts make my brown eyes blue.
And then, in a totally predictable Starr Ann move, even though she'd come in by my bedroom door, she slipped out the window. I heard the barn door a few minutes later, and then the hoofbeats of Oatmeal, her trusty steed.
I stayed awake a long time, sending halfway apologetic thoughts to Jodie and humming Elton John's Candle In The Wind, which I once caught Starr Ann singing the wrong lyrics to. Last words in my mind as I fell asleep were, Goodbye normal genes.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The minute I realized Starr Ann had done a jeans load of laundry in hot water, I knew she was going to make us go to the gun show. According to Starr Ann, there's the cold-water jeans tightness that's just right for doing chores and being around normal people. Then there's the hot-water jeans tightness that helps you fit in amongst rednecks.
At least I'm familiar enough with Starr Ann's ways that I accepted our fate right away. Poor Jodie still entertains these nebulous notions that one of these days she'll actually change Starr Ann's mind once it's made up. Heh. Wasted effort.
Jodie made a good run at it, though, I had to admit. She said, "Now Starr Ann, darlin', wouldn't you much rather spend Friday night cozied up on my couch with a fire going in the fireplace, a pot of spicy veggie stew on the stove, and hot bread baking in the oven? I could make all that happen, you know."
Starr Ann entertained those images for a second, all wide-eyed and everything, before saying, "It's kind of like the way you insist we all read the National Review, American Conservative and Weekly Standard, Jodie. Know the enemy. Study them where they live, and all that, remember? Knowledge is power. It's important to understand what makes these people tick. And tock."
"But sweetheart, that convention center holds something like 20,000 people. That's gonna be at least 19,998 pairs of smoker lungs exhaling in a closed environment. And if just one third of those lungs belong to women, we'll have the bonus of being enclosed with around 6,000 smokers who've doused themselves in perfume in hopes of covering the nicotine smell, and you know we don't want to expose ourselves to that special hell, right baby?"
Starr Ann took a determined breath. "A bunch of the attendees will be kids who are just pre-smokers, so you need to adjust your numbers down a little for that."
Well, that led to a big long explanation about how hunting is marketed as a family sport and it's legal for real little kids to hunt, which flabbergasted Jodie. We had to fire up the Internet to prove to her we weren't kidding about that part.
So, we covered up the Obama sticker on our truck with a sticker that said Gun Control Means Using Both Hands and arrived at the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center just in time to hear a passionate presentation titled "The Evils of Terrorist Extremists" delivered by a fairly good-sized man wearing a T-shirt with There's Nothing That Can't Be Solved With The Use Of High Explosives written on the front and back.
Jodie looked like she was ready to bolt right then and there, so I whispered to her, "Remember now, they're not gonna hurt us. The hot-water jeans, not to mention the way Starr Ann had us do our hair, always triggers a one-of-them response, so we're just fine." Jodie reached up and touched her hair, then looked at mine again like she could barely take her eyes off it.
Right then, Starr Ann saw the look on Jodie's face and as the man was wrapping up his presentation, Starr Ann promised Jodie real quiet, "Stick with this for at least an hour, and we won't force ourselves to go to even one professional wrestling match or truck pull all summer, okay?"
Well, that gave Jodie and me both something to work toward! We tried hard to make the rest of the night go smooth. And we almost succeeded. Of course, there were a couple of rough moments.
At one point, these three bubbas who were all juiced up on tobacco juice got to following us around and started saying things kinda loud about us being three girls there alone. Unless you know Jodie, you have no idea what it took for her to keep herself from unloading both barrels (sorry, but I've just been to a gun show, okay?) on them over the supreme stupidity of the phrase "three women alone."
Starr Ann really does her homework, though. She got rid of those guys real fast by saying, "Oh, you all look like you know your way around. Can you tell us where three girls could buy fake hero medals and stuff for their men?"
Those ol' boys looked awful satisfied about taking charge. One said, "That'd be whatcha call yer militaria, clear over there at the militaria booths."
Starr Ann said thanks and we took off in the direction he pointed.
Only other close call was a little something that almost sparked up over by the knife exhibits, but that time it was the music that came to our rescue. It happened right at the second when things could have turned ugly over the fact that I said just a tiny bit too loud to Jodie, "If morons are outlawed, only outlaws will have morons." I was getting punchy from being at a gun show, okay?
Anyway, some of their faces quit smiling and it looked for a second like we were about to be in trouble when the music, which had been playing too loud all night, hit a refrain that made most of the place stop and pay attention with these real fervent looks on their faces. It went:
I wanna know if he's washed in the Blood
Or just in the water,
Before I give him
My only daughter.
Dang, and us lesbians complain about having a unique dating scene!
As we were leaving the expo, Jodie confided that she wasn't a hundred percent comfortable with her reaction to that Martina McBride song about the daughter and mother who burn down their house with the abusive husband/father still inside. I said I find myself kinda pumped up over the rush of revenge when I hear that song, too.
We both looked at Starr Ann, expecting her to admit she gets just a little fired up over that one, but all the evil thing said was, "You have faced your inner redneck. My work is done."
I hate it when she gets all fake superior like that.
Anyway, remember the sacred mantra of gun enthusiasts: Safety First.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Captain Cordin spotted Airman Kessin’s foot dangling from the doorless cockpit of a two-seater Cessna in the otherwise empty maintenance hangar. “Working on Sunday?”
Emily Kessin’s black combat boot stiffened at the ankle, then she eased her head from beneath the pilot’s console. She sat up and plinked her wrench onto a red rag beside her hip. Tears blurred Emily's view of Catherine Cordin, whose own reddened eyes filled up again.
The captain took the copilot seat, looking cautiously at hydraulic jacks supporting the plane’s fuselage. “This thing stable?”
Emily stared straight through the pilot’s windshield at gray hangar wall. “It’s fine. Look, Catherine, even if you weren’t straight, married and an officer-”
Captain Cordin finished for her. “You’d still love your girlfriend, and you’re committed.” She tried to suppress how her hands shook. "Once it’s gone this far, to admitting it, I mean, do people really stop?”
Smiling squeezed teardrops all over Emily’s cheeks. “These two people, you and I will.”
“You're going to tell her, aren’t you?”
“I’d want her to tell me. Makes it easier, that you and I haven't even touched. Will you tell him?”
"No." Catherine bent forward and put her face in her palms. When she uncovered it, new determination shown there. “Yes, these two people will stop. But first, I get five minutes. For five minutes we will sit here together, alone, with it in the open.”
At the hangar door, the captain watched the airman’s foot dangle from the cockpit.
© 2006 Margo Moon
Saturday, December 6, 2008
My best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) came to my room last night. Actually, it was about an hour before daylight.
Once she got snuggled in all warm and comfortable, Starr Ann said, "Planets looked real pretty up there tonight."
I said, "Cold as it is, you've been out looking at the sky?"
She said, "Got restless."
Well, I just had to wrap her up a little tighter, thinking how the wind had ripped right through us when we'd gone down to the barn to top off the horses' buckets with hot water.
Then Starr Ann said, "You're pretty sweet on Destiny Jane, aren't you?"
I said, "Pretty sweet."
"Sweet as on Celia Susan?"
I had to think a second before saying, "Different sweet."
Starr Ann's eyelashes are so thick, I can always hear her blink when she's lying beside me in the quiet like that. After a few minutes she said, "Let's just take off for the day."
I said okay, but she acted like she still had some convincing to do.
She said, "We could get on the horses and just ride off. Ride about halfway 'til dark then turn around and ride on back."
Again I said yes, and that time it got through.
Starr Ann threw back the covers and slipped back into her chaps and things before raising my window. When she was half in it and half out, she said, "I'll break the news to the horses. Meet you in the barn."
Even with the cold, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful sunrise to ride into. It was getting pretty light by the time we turned into that stretch of road where Destiny Jane's truck broke down last year and left that big rut. That was on a kinda long straightaway and before we got to the rut we could see another horse and rider approaching - way out there in the middle of nothing, at that hour of the morning.
A good ways before she reached us, before we could tell by sight, we knew she was a woman because her voice was carrying so far and clear on that crisp air. Then when we got closer, we could see she was talking on her cell phone. That lady passed right on by us with just a little nod of her head, like it's the most natural thing in the world to meet up with people on horseback practically in the middle of the night, but to be too busy talking on the phone to even say hi.
About the the time we were getting over that, we reached the rut and Starr Ann asked, "Has Destiny Jane ever let on her feelings about you?"
I said, "She hasn't made herself real plain, but last time she was leaving she was sitting sideways in her truck with the door swung wide open, facing out at me, and she wanted to know if I ever felt like we'd known each other all our lives."
"So what did you tell her?"
"I said no, I couldn't say as I had."
Starr Ann got that one look on her face, the one where you just know she wants to make a remark, but instead of actually saying it, she's real obvious about how she's holding it in.
I said, "What!"
Starr Ann said, "Margo, next time somebody asks where you fit on the butch-femme continuum and you've got no idea how to answer, just say you're not even on that one, that you've jumped clear over to the cool-clueless scale."
"Well, Starr Ann, what was I supposed to say? What's so clueless about telling the truth?"
"Did I say you're on the clueless end?"
I didn't really get an answer to that because all of a sudden Starr Ann got all innerested in re-situating her hat. Then for some reason, she had to take her gloves off and put them back on. And apparently her butt was trying to go to sleep, because she had to shift her weight a few times, real deliberate. Anyway, I never did get an answer to that.
After taking good long rest breaks for the horses and a leisurely breakfast on the cinnamon bagels Starr Ann brought, we still got all the way to the Salt River before eleven o'clock, which is when we'd figured we should turn around. I doubt we said eight words the whole way back. But with Starr Ann, sometime that's the best way to figure out what's really on her mind - just stay real close without talking and let the information come through at it's very own angle.
When we got all the way back to that rut spot again, Starr Ann spoke up. "Jodie's just about finished with her book, you know. Things're starting to feel like we're getting to some kind of juncture. Know what I mean, Margo?"
I sure did know what she meant. I said, "No, I don't. Tell me."
Starr Ann said, "I was kind of hoping you'd tell me."
Dang, that girl has a knack for making me feel real important and real apprehensive at the same time.
We just kept on riding, and when we made that turn where you can look down on our whole place and see our sweet house sitting there a little ways up the hill from the barn, we could see smoke rising from our chimney. Without saying it, we both realized Jodie was there and prolly had a nice supper waiting for us.
I pulled back on Trickster and Starr Ann stopped Oatmeal so we could just take in the sight of our place for a minute.
I said, "Know what else I said to Destiny Jane when she asked me that question?"
Starr Ann leaned sideways in her saddle, waiting for me to go on.
"I told Destiny Jane that you're the only forever thing in my life so far, and nothing could really rewrite that."
Starr Ann got that one look on her face, the one I'm not a good enough writer to ever capture in words, and said, "I bet you Jodie has hot bean soup and corn bread waiting for us down there."
I kissed to Trickster to get her moving and said, "Nah. Jodie knows I'm partial to chili on a day like this. It'll be chili."
For the little bit of ride we had left, and all through putting the horses to bed, Starr Ann and I felt light as feathers.
When we got to the house, it was bean soup and corn bread.
That gorgeous image is courtesy of artist Jessica McMahon.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin took a final bow in the pretty Kentucky sunshine at Churchill Downs this afternoon.
Confident and happy as ever, he entered the paddock draped in a green cooler and took charge of the crowd.
In a sweetly low-key appearance, Curlin made his last turns before a quiet, almost reverent gathering of fans.
Then the blanket came off, and you could just feel everybody pull in a breath, and savor the sight.
I swear, he looks and moves like some jungle creature.
His trainer, assistant trainer, groom, hotwalker, and all the people who've spent their waking hours near him over the last two years, must be so happy to see him retire perfectly sound. But this also has to be one of the hardest days of their lives.
Curlin's bodyguard, Amy Kearns, cried openly throughout the entire event.
Curlin's regular rider, Robby Albarado, popped into the paddock between races to run his hand down that blaze.
One of his most devoted fans, one who broke out in a cold sweat whenever Curlin stepped onto a racetrack, watched every move and tried to make each moment last.
Then the cooler covered those incredible muscles again and Curlin headed back to Asmussen's barn, where he'll stay until shipping to Lexington tomorrow for what we hope will be many, many years of thundering around the lush pastures at Lane's End.
All photos © 2008 Margo Moon
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Karen and Emily lived in the most regular looking home Starr Ann and I had ever been inside. They even had a dog, Woofer, and two cats, Ernest and Magnolia. If we'd have had to predict how we'd feel walking into a place like that, I guess we'd have said we'd probably be nervous. But it was impossible to stroll up that neat, narrow walk, up onto that comfortable porch and into that modest living room without feeling right at ease.
Emily immediately headed out to the kitchen, saying, "Dang, if we're going to get you girls back before dark, I need to get cooking."
That was the closest thing to cussin' I'd ever heard from an adult, and I remember thinking it sounded very cool.
Karen glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece and said, "Should I help you out in the kitchen, honey, or do you want me to show the girls around?"
Honey. She called her honey. Starr Ann and I traded a look that was one third a question, one third caution, and one third pure cowgirl Yee-Haa!
Emily said, "Oh, yeah, like there's any chance you're gonna come out here and cut up onions when you're dying to show Starr Ann and Margo that brand new basketball goal."
Already skipping for the back door, Karen laughed and called over her shoulder, "Well, if you run into something that needs doing, we'll be right out here. Just sayin'."
I really liked their way of talking.
Anyway, during supper, on that day already so full of amazing moments, Karen asked us, real casual, if the nuns ever let us check out of the orphanage and visit with folks for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and stuff. Something about the way she worded it, and about the way she and Emily looked at each other when she said it, gave us the idea it was more like she was suggesting maybe Starr Ann and I come to their house on those occasions sometime.
Starr Ann got her voice under her before I got mine and she said, "The nuns already have papers you can fill out and everything!"
Then Karen changed the subject, and we could see where she and Emily would want to talk it over alone before committing to anything. But still. Just the idea was pretty exciting.
On the drive back to the orphanage, Karen cranked up a Joan Jett tape and we all sang I Love Rock 'n' Roll at the top of our lungs the whole way. You know how there are a bunch of verses that end in "So come and take your time, And dance with" and then finally comes the last one where Joan Jett stresses that "me" at the end and it goes all the way to "So come and take your time, And dance with me," and the "me" sounds so in-your-face? Well, that's where we were in the song right when we realized Sister Blissie Marie was outside weeding her flowering red altheas.
By the way Sister Blissie Marie stood and took off her gloves all slow and deliberate, never taking her eyes off Karen and Emily's car, you'd have thought we showed up dressed like Joan Jett or something.
Sister said, "You girls go inside and ask Sister Albert Fred to give you something useful to do," and then she puffed herself up and walked over to the car.
Only thing is, we didn't budge, but stood right there where we could see what was going on. Sister Blissie bent down and said some things kinda low in the passenger's window, the side where Emily was sitting. Then Karen bent forward and said something. Then Sister stood straight up and said something that sounded final. Karen gunned the engine and started backing down the driveway, but hit the brakes real fast and threw it in gear and came back our way. She drove up as close to us as she could get and yelled, "They can't cheat our daughters! You hear me, Starr Ann and Margo?"
All we had time to do was nod before Sister Blissie went all crazy and started yelling things about authorities and getting off orphanage property. Then Emily reached over and hit the volume on Joan Jett again and our potential moms cruised out of our lives on "I don't give a damn bout my bad reputation."
We were sure right about that being the last time we'd go into the fancy restroom, since we weren't allowed to go out by ourselves until way after the Churchill meet was over.
It was four whole years after that when Starr Ann and I finally ran away. As I've mentioned before, the first jobs we got were on the racetrack backside, where one morning we were bringing a horse back from a gallop and Starr Ann spotted one of our lead ponies, Dynamite, standing outside Barn 42. After work, we went over there and sure enough, he still liked chocolate breath.
As for Karen and Emily, not a Thanksgiving Day ever goes by without Starr Ann hugging me real tight and saying, "I sure hope the moms somehow know we ended up happy."
I always say I'm positive they do.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Starr Ann and I were so hyped about going to Karen and Emily's for dinner, we didn't even take the trouble, when Karen said let's stop off at the restroom on our way out of Churchill, to steer them toward the crummy bathroom down at the far end of the grandstand. Nope. It didn't even dawn on us that we were about to enter the fancy ladies' room until the door was already wide open.
At the beginning of Churchill Downs Summer, we'd liked the fancy restroom a lot. Before you even got to the bathroom part of it, before you could even see one toilet, you walked through this lounge area with immaculate, real thick carpet and high backed chairs arranged in front of a long counter with lighted mirrors, ceramic tissue boxes, and free hand cream. The bathroom area was almost as impressive, with curvy gold faucets and marble sinks sitting all shiny and perfect across from toilets where the walls went all the way to the floor. Starr Ann and I had never seen anything even close to being as elegant as that bathroom. Maybe still haven't.
But the thing about the fancy restroom that gave it legendary proportions for Starr Ann and me was Miss Ada. I guess Miss Ada's strict title would have been the "attendant," but to Starr Ann and me, she seemed more like the Queen of Churchill Downs.
There she was, day in and day out, ensconced in that lush, quiet, sweet smelling room, where you'd never be able to guess you were surrounded outside by the smoky, boisterous racetrack throngs.
Miss Ada was magnificent sitting there in this huge wingback chair, wearing an outfit that just about stung your eyes, its white was so white and its black was so black. She had the highest cheekbones and the darkest, tightest skin Starr Ann or I had ever seen. In our minds, whether it could be proven or not, there was no way she didn't have royalty in her family somewhere.
Anyway, Miss Ada would sit there in deepest repose, until a lady emerged from one of the stalls and walked across to the sinks. Then Miss Ada would pick up two hand towels from the stack on the table by her chair and walk over to the lady, waiting for just the right second to hold out the towel to her. There were no other towels in the bathroom, so Miss Ada was in complete control of hands getting dried. Usually, as the lady used the towel, Miss Ada said something pleasant to her and then the lady dropped some money into the vase over on Miss Ada's table, right next to her pile of towels.
Well, Starr Ann and I were in awe of Miss Ada. But for some reason, even though we were super careful to never, and I mean never, drip even a single drop of water on the sink counter, she didn't like us one bit. At the beginning of Churchill Downs Summer, we used to go in there just to feel that special feeling of being in a real expensive place. Only thing was, when Starr Ann and I washed our hands we had to end up drying them on the thighs of our jeans, because never once did Miss Ada offer us a towel. Naturally, we learned to go down to the crummy bathroom. Just for really using the bathroom. If you get my drift.
So all of a sudden there we were, following Karen and Emily into posh territory where we knew we weren't wanted.
Well, all four of us ended up at the sinks together, and I could see Starr Ann in the mirror watching Miss Ada in the mirror. Right on time, Miss Ada counted herself out enough towels and came our way. Just as businessfied and nice as could be, she handed us each our towels, and then she remarked to Karen and Emily about what lovely daughters they had. Us!
Without even having to say it, we knew we'd never go in the fancy restroom again. Starr Ann and I were finally not invisible, and we'd leave it at that.
It's a wonder Starr Ann and I didn't just float off into the sky, we felt so light as we zigzagged through the parking lot with Karen and Emily to their car. And the best part, supper at their house, was still to come.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It's a safe bet that Brownie and Brownie's Friend didn't get to their level of scam artistry without being able to read people pretty well. Natural as anything, when they ushered those two women off to the side, Brownie, who always worked the wife, positioned himself to address the lady in the pink sleeveless blouse, leaving Brownie's Friend facing the more tailored woman.
Before Starr Ann and I even had a plan together, we were making tracks in the direction of the hustle in progress, dodging adults and ducking underneath open racing forms. We must have looked like just a couple of pesky kids who'd been turned loose on the betting floor.
When we landed, too quickly and still without a plan, right in the middle of their four surprised faces, Starr Ann blurted, "You can't cheat our moms!"
Brownie was cool as anything, tipping his hat to the one in the pink blouse as he took a couple steps backward, saying something about there must have been a mistake, leaving us alone with the two ladies.
The one with the slicked back blonde hair sized up Starr Ann and me and said, "Your moms, huh?" Then she turned to her friend. "Must've been that night I can't remember at the Dinah Shore a few years back."
The lady in the pink blouse smacked her on the arm real light and laughed, saying, "Stop it, Karen." Then she turned to us and smiled very nicely. "I bet there's a good story behind all this. How about we grab something to eat while you tell us about it? Food's on us."
So Starr Ann and I told Karen and Emily about how we killed time between petting the lead ponies by watching Brownie and Brownie's Friend take people to the betting windows to rip them off. Then we told them about the orphanage, and how we were supposed to be at the library in the afternoons but just couldn't stop ourselves from coming to see the horses every day, and a whole bunch of other stuff that just seemed to fall out of us.
After listening to all that, when the food was gone, you'll never guess what Karen said. She said, "Will you take us to pet the lead ponies with you before the next race?"
It was such an incredible feeling for Starr Ann and me, introducing Karen and Emily to the horses, showing them how Red liked for you to tug on his forelock, telling them about how Hickory Butt would fall sound asleep if you rubbed his ears long enough, and warning them to be careful of Cochise, because he liked to catch you not looking and chomp down kinda hard on your arm. It felt like they were our horses almost. But the most wonderful part was that Karen and Emily were really listening to us. I mean really paying attention, and not because they had to or anything.
After the horses came out on the track, which meant our lead ponies had to get to work, Emily said, "Girls, that's the most fun I've had at the races yet."
Karen made herself real tall by standing up straighter and said, "Maybe that's because those are the fastest horses you've paid attention to at the races yet."
Emily smacked Karen's arm like that again and asked us when the nuns expected us home.
I knew Starr Ann didn't want the day to end, so I said as long as we got home before dark, it was okay.
Well, we had no idea they were going to ask us to their house for supper, but they did!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) and I were about 12 and 14 years old, we went horse crazy. Riding a horse, or even getting to touch one, was our big dream. That was the summer we learned how to be gone from the orphanage for hours at a time without getting in trouble by telling the nuns we were spending the day in town at the library. But we really spent all those afternoons at the racetrack. Starr Ann and I still call that our Churchill Downs Summer.
We of course didn't bet the races, partly because that wasn't the goal and partly because we didn't have any money. Nope, we found a weak spot in the grandstand fence and learned how to sneak right in without spending one penny. From there, the days gracefully unfolded themselves across the evenly spaced intervals between races.
We'd get there in time to see the horses come over from the backside for the first race. As the grooms led their horses through the tunnel and back to the paddock, we watched them go, but didn't follow. Instead, we secured our spot on the rail out front, where the lead pony riders would sit casually on their quarter horses and appaloosas waiting to escort the horses and jockeys in the post parade and warm-up. During our Churchill Downs Summer, we got to know all the lead ponies and their riders by name. They got to know us, too, and the riders would pull up real close to the rail where Starr Ann and I could pet the amazing velvet noses of Cochise, Brandywine, Red, Billy Boy, Juanita, Dynamite, Hickory Butt, Pothole, Big Blue, and Dandy Girl. I swear, I could still tell you where each one of them liked to be scratched, which ones particularly liked having their nostrils blown into (Dynamite loved chocolate breath) and which ones you had to be on the lookout for taking a nip at you once in a while. I'm sure Starr Ann could tell you all that too.
Anyway, once the horses came onto the track and our ponies had to get to work, Starr Ann and I had to amuse ourselves among the humans. Sometime, we'd go up to an empty box way up in front of the grandstand, where there was a drop-off in front of you looking down on the tops of people's heads. We'd find a man wearing a brimmed hat and drop popcorn down in it until it was just about full. Then we'd go downstairs and find him and follow him around, watching him look around every time he turned or bent his head and a piece of popcorn dropped around him. Hey, we were 12 and 14, okay?
Then we discovered Brownie and Brownie's Friend. Brownie was short and wiry, with a huge toothy smile. And he always wore the same shiny brown suit, white shirt, and brown tie. At the time, we didn't know the shininess meant it was cheap and old, and that suit just fascinated us for some reason. Brownie was named for the suit, and Brownie's Friend was named for being secondary to Brownie in every way.
Well, it didn't take long to notice something real systematic and suspicious about how Brownie and Brownie's Friend operated. They'd walk up to a couple they obviously hadn't met before and start talking real confidential to them. Then Brownie would get the woman off to one side, talking the whole time, while Brownie's Friend worked the same way with the man. In just a few minutes, they'd join up again and the four of them would go over to the betting windows together, where the man of the couple would usually pay for some bets and then they'd all walk off to the side, where they'd give Brownie some of the tickets. Then everybody would be smiling as they went their separate ways.
Real quick, we figured out that if there were six horses in the race coming up, this little scene got played out six times. If there were eight horses, eight couples got taken to the windows. Basically, Brownie and Brownie's Friend were hustlers who were able to hold a ticket on each and every horse in each race of the day, without ever putting up a cent of their own money. They must have had a pretty persuasive story to sell their phony inside tip so many times and with such success.
Once in a while, one of the couples would spot Brownie and Brownie's Friend in the crowd and come up to them looking less than pleased. But Brownie would smile real big, then get real serious, and talk all confidential again, until the couple left again, seeming satisfied that these things happen.
Toward the end of Churchill Downs Summer, Brownie and Brownie's Friend approached a couple that didn't fit their usual mode. It was two women - one with shoulder length brown hair, wearing a sleeveless pastel pink blouse, light blue jeans, and pretty white sandals, and one with short blonde hair, khaki pants and a black tailored shirt. Needless to say, Starr Ann and I took a special interest, even before we realized this couple was about to become prey to Brownie and Brownie's Friend.
There was nothing for Starr Ann and me to do but break up the scam somehow.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Newton's 2nd Law can be written:
The Rate of change of momentum of a body is equal to the resultant force acting on the body, and takes place in the direction of the force.
In another form:
Force = mass x acceleration
In another form:
The sum of forces still acting against Prop 8 in California aren't going away! They're growing. Marriage Equality has Momentum!
For further information on what's happening, pop over to Lori Hahn's blog. She has the scoop.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Anyway, here in Kentucky, our Saturday protest for Marriage Equality brought out a few dedicated activists. Starr Ann and I are so proud of everybody who didn't stay home taking a warm Saturday afternoon nap, but came downtown to protest in an off-and-on drizzly 38-degree day.
Just look at the commitment!
When it came to chanting and cheering and smiling, that mean old weather couldn't beat us down.
Some of us showed up with attitude.
Some showed up to keep their ideals alive.
A few showed up ready to do this marryin' thang right away.
Some fine people braved the elements because they realize our freedom is also theirs.
I even spotted the woman who makes the words "To have and to hold" come to life for me...
But mostly, it was an afternoon of assertion, joy, and belief that someday soon we'll share equally in the rights and privileges of this country we love, pay taxes in, and in whose armed forces many of us lay down our lives.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
It really could be just that simple. More love, less hate. Only for some reason, it's not.
So tomorrow, many thousands of people across hundreds of cities in the US will take to the streets in peaceful protest of the continuing discrimination against those of us who are in love, yet do not have the right to marry.
It's easy to find the peaceful Marriage Equality protest nearest you. Just click the Magic Rainbow Rings.
What a wonderful way to spend Saturday afternoon - adding your body to the masses who'll show up to peacefully claim Equality for All, lending your voice to the chants, songs and cheers that invariably rise up, and last but not least, catching sight of some of the eligible lesbians in your community who eschew the bar scene. I mean, we're protesting for the right to wed, correct? So the first step is finding a girlfriend. Multitask. Just sayin'.
And while you're out there fighting the good fight (and I mean that in the most peaceful of terms) take a few great photos. Then, when you get home, download those babies and send them to Lori Hahn at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lori's up to something artistic that involves the goal of getting pictures from each and every city that holds a demonstration tomorrow. Let's not rile her up. She's one tornadic cowgirl when she gets riled. So let's just hand her our pictures and back away slow.
Please join us tomorrow, so that beautiful, loving hands throughout our nation will soon have the right to be joined in marriage.